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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday February 1, 2020 

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A different take on religion and the media, Touch is the story of Brother Junvenal who is able to heal people with his ‘touch’. A former Franciscan monk, he now performs selfless service in the Sacred Heart detox house. But it’s hard being a saint in the city, especially since his God given gift attracts a media circus, opportunists and fanatical religious fundamentalists eager to exploit him. He stands to lose his immortal soul in a world where nothing is sacred, and his heart to a beautiful woman who wants his healing hands on her body.

"Touch is an offbeat, irreverent comedy which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Although not a film destined for greatness, there are some appealing elements; bizarre characters, off-the-wall concepts and absurdly funny lines. The opening credits aptly present the cast as comic strip characters, and a weirder group you would be hard pressed to find. Bridget Fonda as the former church baton twirler and Skeet Ulrich as the would-be saint play it pretty straight, with Ulrich displaying a Johnny Depp-like intensity; Christopher Walken gives a droll performance as the conman who makes religion a business enterprise. But stealing the show is Tom Arnold, who gives a totally over-the-top performance as the fanatic religious group leader August Murray, who is just a big teddy bear. The scene when Murray, totally captive in plaster casts with broken ribs, legs and whatever, makes an appearance on the television talk show, is almost slapstick comedy. (Gina Gershon is vicious as the piranha TV interviewer.) Careful casting is also in evidence for the smaller roles - Janeane Garofalo as the ambitious journalist, Lolita Davidovich as the Catholic topless dancer whose son is miraculously healed, Paul Mazursky as the record executive who thinks the Gregorian Chants are "mumbling to slow music", and the priest whose weak bladder embarrasses him at the worst times. Take your pick of blasphemous, sacrilegious or profane, Touch will tickle the fancy of the thoughtful lapsed Catholic who enjoys a sense of the absurd."
Louise Keller

"Touch is a misfired adaptation of one of Elmore Leonard’s most atypical novels, a would-be comedy about a might-be saint that adds up to very little….boasts a colourful cast and some vivid individual scenes, but unsuccessfully mixes tones while strenuously reaching for offbeat humour…..Shot through with bold colours on LA locations, pic has an attractive enough look on what was clearly a limited budget."
Todd McCarthy, Variety

"My vote goes with Louise, while Todd’s remark about mixing tones strikes me as curious: life mixes its tones on me all the time. Anyhow, it’s just an opinion. I thought the most difficult aspect, namely the treatment of the young man who discovers this healing gift, was superbly done. Superb because it balanced on the edge of credibility all the while the comedic elements were in play. This was the most important element for the film to work at all. It does. The cast are terrific and the laughs come from unexpected moments, plus a couple of inventive lines of dialogue. Touching it ain’t, but entertaining it certainly is."
Andrew L. Urban

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Skeet Ulrich - a Johnny Depp-like intensity

Bridget Fonda & Skeet Ulrich

Christopher Walken - religion is a business enterprise

CAST: Bridget Fonda, Christopher Walken, Skeet Ulrich, Tom Arnold, Gina Gershon, Lolita Davidovich, Paul Muzursky, Janeane Garofalo, John Doe, Conchata Ferrell, Mason Adams, Breckin Meyer, Anthony Zerbe

DIRECTOR: Paul Schrader

PRODUCER: Cazes, Fida Attieh

SCRIPT: Paul Schrader (based on the novel by Elmore Leonard)


EDITOR: Cara Silverman

MUSIC: David Grohl


RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes




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